by Kelley Keller
You’ve launched your website, written a blog post, published an ebook, or recorded a podcast and you want to make sure no one steals it. You’ve spent a lot of time creating content that will be useful to your audience and help you build your brand and business. You need to protect it!
The first step to protecting your original work is by identifying it as your intellectual property. That requires using a copyright notice that publicly communicates your ownership of that content.
How to Write a Copyright Notice the Right Way
A copyright notice must include three key elements to appropriately notify the public that you own your original work (e.g., your website content, blog post, ebook, podcast, video, etc.):
1. The copyright symbol
The copyright symbol (i.e., the C in a circle) goes first. If you’d prefer, you can begin your notice with “Copyright” or “Copr.” rather than using the copyright symbol.
The year of first publication of the original work comes second in the copyright notice. In copyright law, “first publication” is the date when the original work was first offered for public distribution through sale (e.g., selling your ebook through Amazon) or for the purpose of further distribution (e.g., publishing your ebook on your website and making it available for visitors to download, read, and share).
Last, include the name of the copyright owner in your copyright notice.
Here is an example of a complete copyright notice using the copyright symbol:
© 2014 Kelley Keller
No, You Can’t Copyright That
Remember, you cannot copyright ideas. You can only copyright your original work (which means it must be created entirely by you) once it has been “fixed in a tangible medium.”
That simply means it can’t be copyrighted if it’s in your head. It must have a physical form. In other words, your idea for an ebook cannot be protected by copyright laws, but once you write the ebook, it can be.
Kelley Keller, Esq. is President of The Keller Law Firm and a 20-year veteran of the intellectual property law field. As an intellectual property attorney, she has deep experience helping businesses of all sizes identify, manage, and protect their trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets, including many household brands like Toyota, Disney, and Verizon, which she worked with during her tenure at two of the largest IP law firms in Washington, D.C. Kelley also offers education to small business owners, creative and coaching professionals, digital entrepreneurs, and established companies about starting, building, and growing a Rock Solid Business on an strong foundation through her website KelleyKeller.com.
Kelley’s personable nature and ability to explain complex legal issues in simple terms set her apart from most attorneys. She is relentless in helping businesses, their owners, and their families mitigate risks and open the doors to new opportunities.